Motorcycles

A clean-sheet V-Twin engine for the new 2014 Indian Motorcycles line

A clean-sheet V-Twin engine fo...
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
View 19 Images
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine awaiting installation of its pistons
1/19
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine awaiting installation of its pistons
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine under assembly
2/19
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine under assembly
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
3/19
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
Sectioned photo showing the triple camshaft that drives the parallel pushrods
4/19
Sectioned photo showing the triple camshaft that drives the parallel pushrods
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
5/19
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine cylinder head cross-section showing the valves and their parallel pushrods
6/19
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine cylinder head cross-section showing the valves and their parallel pushrods
The Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine with the transmission and clutch cover sectioned
7/19
The Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine with the transmission and clutch cover sectioned
A close look at the cylinders of the Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine
8/19
A close look at the cylinders of the Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine view providing a good view of the parallel pushrod tubes
9/19
Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine view providing a good view of the parallel pushrod tubes
View of the left side of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
10/19
View of the left side of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
The downfiring exhaust tubes and muffler of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
11/19
The downfiring exhaust tubes and muffler of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
View into the workings of the triple camshaft of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
12/19
View into the workings of the triple camshaft of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
The Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine even has a chromed dipstick
13/19
The Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine even has a chromed dipstick
Connecting rod protruding from the engine case
14/19
Connecting rod protruding from the engine case
The Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine with the transmission and clutch cover removed
15/19
The Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine with the transmission and clutch cover removed
Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111 engine
16/19
Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111 engine
Cam cover detail of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
17/19
Cam cover detail of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
1948 Indian Scout motorcycle
18/19
1948 Indian Scout motorcycle
2013 Indian Chief Classic
19/19
2013 Indian Chief Classic

Indian Motorcycles has once again risen from the dustbin of history. Purchased by Polaris Industries in 2011, the 2014 model year involves a complete redesign of the Indian motorcycle line. The most notable new feature is the new Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin engine. A fresh design from the ground up, the design goals included keeping the classic Indian engine look while implementing a 49 degree V-Twin geometry with modern technology.

The first Indian Motorcycle was sold in 1902, which, as Indian enthusiasts enjoy pointing out, was a year before Harley-Davidson was founded. The company was bought by DuPont Motors in 1930, which then stopped making cars and concentrated its resources on Indian. The brand met with considerable success, to the point that in 1940 it sold nearly as many bikes as did H-D. In 1945 the company was taken over by the Rogers Group, which proceeded to run it into the ground with a series of poorly designed and built-light motorcycles. The original company went bankrupt in 1953.

Since that time, the brand has been owned or claimed by no fewer than nine separate companies, which have sold a variety of small imported cycles and Harley clones. Stephen Julius and Steve Heese, who had previously revived the Chris-Craft and Reva luxury boat brands, bought the Indian brand in 2004. In 2008, they began selling their Indian Chief motorcycle in various levels of accouterments.

2013 Indian Chief Classic
2013 Indian Chief Classic

Regarded as a huge step backward (that's a good thing!), the Kings Mountain Indian Chief is a refined bike which has been called the Bentley of motorcycles, the product of levels of manufacture and quality control that remind one of the Indian's heyday. Production was limited to small runs, though, perhaps to justify higher prices partly through scarcity. That didn't work terribly well as a business model, regardless of the sophistication of the motorcycle itself. In 2011, Polaris Industries bought the company, and transferred operations and manufacturing to Spirit Lake, Iowa.

The 2013 Indian Chief models are the last of the Kings Mountain motorcycles that will be manufactured. Polaris decided to develop a completely redesigned bike to carry on the Indian name. Due out in the latter part of this year, the as-yet unnamed 2014 Indian Motorcycle line will be equipped with the Indian Thunder Stroke 111 (TS111), newly developed beginning with a clean sheet of paper.

Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111 engine
Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111 engine

The Thunder Stroke 111 is a fue-injected four-stroke 49-degree V-Twin engine having a displacement of 111 cubic inches (1811 cc), that is claimed to deliver 118 ft-lb (160 Nm) of torque, which is about normal for such designs. The engine tops out at 5500 rpm, and delivers its power to the rear wheel through a six-speed overdrive transmission and a carbon fiber-reinforced belt.

The new design, which has undergone over one million miles of testing, has a forged single-pin transverse crankshaft to transfer power from the 3.89-in (101-mm) diameter pistons during their 4.45-in (113-mm) stroke. The TS111 is an overhead valve engine, with two valves per cylinder controlled by a triple camshaft driving parallel pushrods which activate hydraulic lifters. As a 49-degree V-Twin design is rather cramped near the crankshaft, the engine has mushroom cylinder outlines and multi-directional cooling fins to optimize the balance between cooling and real estate.

The engine is connected to a six-speed overdrive constant-mesh transmission. Sixth gear turns 3.37 times faster than first gear, leading to an easily controllable transmission that will allow a rider to remain within the power band of the engine under most riding conditions. The clutch is a multiple-plate wet design to provide smooth clutch action without undue slippage.

View of the left side of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine
View of the left side of the Indian Motorcycles Thunder Stroke 111 engine

The TS111 is equipped with a valve to trigger compression release, allowing a motorcycle driven by this engine to use engine braking. The compression ratio of the engine is a rather conservative 9.5:1. Fuel is provided to the engine by an electronic sequential port fuel injection system, while air passes through an electronically controlled 2.13-in (51-mm) throttle. As the TS111 also has a helical gear balancer to offset vibration from the unbalanced 49-degree cylinders, the result should be an engine that combines power and smoothness.

The new engine is a modern incarnation of most of the positive aspects and quirks of design so characteristic of classic Indian design. We can only hope that the 2014 Indian Motorcycle follows the same path. OK – it could be less expensive as well – the CEO has said it will be "more affordable." This is one development target I don't want to see slip – I haven't owned a motorcycle in quite a while, but the new Indian might push me back over the line!

Details of the TS111 can be seen in the video below.

Source: Indian Motorcycles, Inc

Indian Motorcycle: The Thunder Stroke 111

25 comments
Derek Howe
I love the sound this bike makes at the end of the video, it makes me wanna ride! and I don't even own a bike!
Michael Young
Maybe this will be my next ride.
Daishi
Polaris is also the parent company of Victory motorcycles. If I'm reading the smoke signals right I would expect them to be priced below the $35k/bike they are at now but still comfortably more expensive than HD. HD isn't in the business of making budget bikes any more than Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana are about making budget clothing/accessories. You can dress out a Honda Shadow for about $8k or buy a used one with a couple summers on it for $4k. Victory is an American motorcycle company that makes good bikes for the price but I don't see Victory stickers in the backs of peoples truck windows in the winter. I ride dirt bikes and sport bikes so I don't own a HD and looking at reviews and spec sheets it took me a long time to understand what the appeal was. I think it may have been Mike Hanlon's article that called them a clothing company where it clicked. It's a mans version of an expensive Gucci handbag. In that light, Indian makes a lot of sense for Polaris but unless the are committed to keeping the brand more expensive than Harley they are wasting their time. Numerous companies have attempted to make cheaper cruisers and succeeded but failed to woo HD customers in the process. If they play this right it could be the most interesting attempt so far.
John Findlay
Just ANOTHER fat cruiser, Indian has an oppertunity to build on the fantastic heritage forged by Burt Munro. If only they could build a high powered V twin crossed with a Hayabusa it would sure get my interest.
apprenticeearthwiz
Internal combustion engines are not new technology, neither are they emerging technology. They are dinosaur relics of an almost redundant technology. Either change the description of your mag to technology nostalgia or stop wasting space on this old rubbish. BTW, even in terms of ICE machines, neither Indians nor Harleys are efficient enough or handle well enough to be described as real motorbikes. More accurately they are fashion accesories, like handbags, noisy inefficient ones at that.
The Skud
Have long admired the Indian, if only they could find a dual-clutch 6 speed auto for the new model, it would be my dream bike! Who needs to mentally coincide clutch and throttle hands in the modern age? Add anti-collision radar to the brakes, perfect! You need all, or much more, of your concentration nowadays to keep looking for stupidly driven cars coming from all directions.
Daishi
@The Skud. I assume you don't drive a motorcycle? I only ask because I don't know a single person who drives them who believes shifting distracts them from seeing other drivers. If you are looking at getting a first motorcycle and don't want to pick up learning manual Honda makes NC700X and CTX700N that are automatic. I can appreciate not wanting to start on a manual but once you learn one you are probably less rather than more distracted from driving as a result. There isn't much demand from existing motorcyclists for auto transmissions because once most people master manuals they tend to prefer them.
Christine Gray
Mmmmm. Yet another grand reincarnation of the great Indian brand. Pretty slick video. Valves are parallel and crank has side x side rods, but then they probably aren't looking for max performance/revs and some vibes are acceptable. I cannot help think that an Indian is well, a 1940's design with lovely valanced guards and real style. Anything other than that is a new motorcycle with a famous badge, with nothing to offer other than , the name....
motorcitykitty
I'm just not feeling this. I can't understand why the American Motorcycle industry keeps insisting we all want either RETRO, or otherwise worn out styled motorcycles using technology that's from the 1980'S! Even the sound at the end of the video reminds me of the 1980's song GIRLS-GIRLS-GIRLS by Motely Crue. This is just another overpriced piece of retro heavyweight overpriced.....status something? I would love to own a piece of American Iron, BUT until somebody steps up the plate and designs one with contemporay preforming engine and crankshaft...as well as a reasonble curb weight, and price...FORGET IT!
Jim Sadler
Heavy motorcycles are inherently unsafe. The power of the new Indian is sufficient and it looks great. But to survive on the streets a large heavy bike is not the way to go. If you ride log enough there comes a day when you will need things like the ability to take an excessive lean angle to avoid a crash or at the very least you will need to do a very sudden stop. Even a three hundred pound bike is a bit cumbersome under those conditions but this trend to eight hundred pound bikes has to be taking lives. Imagine a long slide on asphalt with your leg squished under an eight hundred pound bike. If you live there won't be enough left of the leg to save it.